We’re Giving You The Shirt Off Our Back!

We’re fast approaching the deadline (Saturday, April 13th is the last day to make a contribution!) of our crowdfunding campaign on Rockethub.com. We’re still optimistic that we will meet our fund raising goal and that we’ll be celebrating our grand re-opening celebration with all on May 18th at our new location, 232 S Buchanan ST in Edwardsville. Our neighbors include Annie’s Frozen Custard (just across the street) and Swing City Music ( a few doors down).

whiteshirtThis limited edition t-shirt was designed by our very own Kaleigh Ann Lane and is just one of the many rewards we are offering to supporters of Afterwords Books. Thank you so much to each and every one of our contributors…each dollar makes a huge difference and goes a long way in showing your support. We absolutely could not get over these hurdles without you! Thank you for your monetary contribution, but also we thank you for sharing the campaign with your family and friends…for communicating why this project is important, why it matters.

Meeting the challenges and shouldering the trials and tribulations of our decision to move the bookstore has been pause for serious introspection. Those nearest and dearest, through careful elucidation, have gently suggested that perhaps all of this hoop jumping might not be worth it in the end. After all, owning and operating the bookstore means hours and hours of work outside of normal operating hours. It means no benefits package in the way of a health/dental/vision insurance for our family, no paid vacation or holidays, and no paid sick leave. Perhaps everything happens for a reason and this might be the opportunity to choose another direction, to redirect energies…this may be the call for change? Change that brings more financial security, peace of mind, and a work week that promises a reduction of at least 20 hours per week.

Of course, I’m preaching to the choir here to my fellow small business owners….our circumstances are all too familiar to hundreds of people who opt to follow their hearts, their passion and find themselves navigating the often treacherous terrain of sole proprietorship. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have a support system of family and friends who act as cheerleaders, shoulders to cry on, dole out advice, brainstormers, and truly understand that owning and operating this bookstore is a dream come true for me. That being said, I am a realist at heart. As the head of our household, I have to balance my desire to follow my dream with my responsibility and commitment to our family. I admit to missing the security that comes with a regular paycheck and the freedom to take time off, to go on vacation, to have the flexibility/luxury of being less budget stringent….This might be a good time to thank my kidlets for sharing mom’s sense of humor and being my biggest fans and supporters of Afterwords Books. Thank you for understanding when I had to miss concerts, recitals, and parent/teacher conferences. Thank you for enjoying our stay vacations, for telling me you love having pancakes and eggs for dinner, and for making my job as mom easier, allowing me to focus that surplus energy on continuing to nurture the bookstore.

Looking back to that spring day in 2011 when I made the fateful decision to purchase the bookstore, I have to admit that though the road has been extremely rocky, I wouldn’t trade the life my family and I have now, not without a serious fight! My hope is that my devotion to the bookstore is illustrating to my children that though the dream is that they will find their life work is something that calls to their heart while simultaneously providing financial security, sometimes the rewards of doing what you love outweigh the monetary gain of the job that allows you to ride and/or engineer the consumerist-driven train.

The rewards come with the realization that our book club and documentary club brings people of all walks of life together for intelligent conversation, to exchange ideas, to open minds…that our clubs started out with a humble five members and have grown to 20 plus book/documentary aficionados! During one of our last meetings, as people were engaged in conversation, sharing food and spirits with one another, a member turned to me and said, “Look what you did.” A proud moment to be sure. I’m reminded why I work so hard to make Afterwords a sustainable business each and every Saturday when families arrive to share an hour of their Saturday morning with us during story time. When the store is filled with the happy chatter of little voices, and yes, sometimes the occasional melt-down too of a toddler, with parents talking over coffee, and each and every one of those children, armed with a craft to take home or a free book, thanks Miss LuAnn for reading to them, I get that what we do is bigger than selling a few books throughout the year. In short, Afterwords Books is a thread in the community….what we do matters to us and to our customers. It’s a place to gather, to learn, to share, to understand, and to dream.

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